Done. Complete, at 4:30 pm, at the county border between Middlesex and Hertfordshire. I am home and washed (much needed). The last stretch to this point on the Lea Navigation from Enfield town centre is the end of my walk, but perhaps not the end of the project.
You soon realise that Enfield does not consider itself part of London, and that Enfield is right. Its attached districts are contiguous with the metropolitan conurbation and share much of its character, but Enfield itself is a town on its own. It is the last town in Middlesex, but there is still more to see.
After perhaps a mile, if that, walking due north along the New River and through the streets, I emerged from the townscape into Hilly Fields Park, a gently wooded expanse, which then opens into Forty Hall Country Park, and here once again I was on the London LOOP, a route which has blatantly copied the Middlesex Greenway in several places.
I said in a post yesterday that I had seen the last of the farms on the route, but here I was passing Forty Hall Farm, a working farm making the most of its proximity to townsfolk in need of country refreshment. That though was the other side of the expanse of the park.
The route runs along the south side of the Turkey Brook, heading east, and stays with it in various guises for some miles. This is a popular path and deservedly so. The path runs through the woods, passing a beautiful lake, almost paved with autumn leaves, until it finally emerges on a road, Forty Green Road, then across it, but here the route is not as pastoral; scrubby, almost post-industrial as it is uncultivated, but bursting with untamed nature, as I crossed a high bridge over the A10. (I was glad that I wore lighter boots than on the previous days.)
Enfield Wash is one of those dependent districts, separate from Enfield in place and character but borrowing its name, and here I turned away from the brook by the wonderfully named Turkey Street Station. Through the streets, led by map and the signs the the ‘Enfield Green Ways’, I headed still east, across a broad park, over another railway, over another road, and suddenly reached the canal and the edge of the county.
At Enfield Lock there once stood the government-owned Enfield Small Arms Factory, producer of the Lee Enfield rifle and many, many more. The factory stands over the canal and the old river course and therefore in Essex (though the preserved houses of Government Row are in Middlesex – the boundary get a bit complex round here as the boundary river, the Lea, has been diverted). From here it is simply a case of walking north until the motorway.
The canal is the Lea Navigation – a canal created out of the River Lea, while the river itself, such as it is, runs a little to the east. The old course is somewhat subsumed. The canal towpath on the Middlesex side runs due north, so I followed it up. Soon the houses drop away, and I was in Rammey Moor, but soon too the roar of traffic is heard. I came past a veritable village of narrrowboats, and the Narrowboat Café (I didn’t get a chance to drop in to see if they had fruit buns, alas). Then soon I was at the M25.
North of the motorway is an industrial estate. According to the route directions, the path ends, and the county ends, where the fence of the industrial estate meets the path, so I walked to that point: that’s where I stood for the picture at the top of the page. However just before the fence I found a concrete pillar marked with “MCC”, and I think “HCC on the adjacent face, though it was too worn to be sure. Was this the measured boundary point on the canal? Once, presumably, there would have been a coal post. No matter; it was an end and the achievement of a fine walk of which more people should be aware.
The walk is one I would highly recommend, perhaps in sections; you need not walk the whole thing, though if you do, you will find it rewarding. I would not ask anyone to do something I am not prepared to do myself – so I have.
Once again, thank you to Stephen Collins for his Herculean efforts in creating the route. I will refine the map on this website in the light of seeing it on the ground.
Once again also, I am still collecting donation for the Stroke Association, as below:
Please donate to the Stroke Association: click here.
(I am told that this can also be followed on Twitter: @wildthing_uk)